I suppose I have some good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that for the past 9 months, I’ve sat around wondering what new baby things I could share with you… and could only think of a handful of new essentials since my 0-3 month essentials post. The good news (for both of us) is that all the stuff I swore by back then stands the test of time and has lasted us through the entire first year. I do have just a few new ‘must haves’ as well as some ‘nice to haves’ that have made our lives over the past 9 months much more sane.
I also should preface this entire post with one big disclaimer. I have wound up with an exceptionally good baby. Each day I’m still shocked by how we lucked out. I don’t say this to brag, I say this because I haven’t needed any of the gadgets that lots of new moms and dads swear by. We didn’t use swings, rock n’plays, vibrating chairs, or really anything like that. Had Maeve been colicky or nocturnal, this list may have been different.
But first, I am not going to start with the products. I’ve had a lot of questions asking about how the strategies I set out to implement we. So, let’s start with the honest overview of the past 9 months. Let me also say that I know parenting styles differ. If you do not agree with my style, that is totally fine. Rude or combative comments about my style or other readers comments, however, it will not be published. This is not a place of judgement.
I sleep trained literally from day one. This is not recommended by most sleep training experts, but I took a relaxed gentle approach to sleep training straight from the hospital. How is it relaxed and gentle? I read ‘Secrets of the Baby Whisperer’ which gives a great schedule (pg 118) for the first few days to gently urge babies onto a regular eat, play, sleep cycle. I also did small things like let her nap in the daylight for daytime naps and in the dark for nighttime. Although I moved to a fully darkened room for naps later, I felt like the daytime naps and nighttime sleep distinction early on helped with day/night confusion that a ton of babies have. We had no nocturnal issues. Additionally, I would wake her to eat and not let her sleep longer than 3 hours during the day, but would not regulate sleep length at night.
During the day, she slept in an Uppababy bassinet that was topped on a Jolly Jumper cradle base in our living room and then at night she slept in her crib. Yes, from day 1. I know that crib sleeping from the get-go is a polarizing subject. Firstly, our rooms are next door to each other, I can literally hear her without a monitor. Secondly, I felt that one transition was going to be rough enough, I didn’t want another transition at 3, 6, or 9 months. To buffer the difficulty of leaving a teeny tiny baby in a crib all alone, I swaddled her with a miracle blanket and gave her a wub-a-nub pacifier (harder to loose in the dark!) and she was very happy indeed. I also had a small fan and noise machine that she liked. I didn’t start out with bumpers, but ended up buying the mesh variety because she kept inching her way to the edge and hitting her head, then waking up. The mesh bumpers worked wonderfully for us.
Once I got past the first 4-6 weeks of just gently nudging her into a schedule, I started Babywise. She did really well with it and started following a predicable schedule by 10 weeks and started sleeping in very long 8 hour chunks by 12 weeks. We continued with Babywise and by 16 weeks she was sleeping from 7pm – 7am with three daily naps. Now at 12 months, we’re down to 2 naps, but each are about 2 hours and she still sleeps from 7am- 7pm.
I wasn’t crazy die-hard with Babywise, but it worked for us. I took a good balance between setting firm parameters and following her sleep cues. At the end of the day, I felt like providing a security to her day to day with a schedule helped. Once the sleep was under control, everything else seems so easy to deal with. What’s that everything else? Eating, Play, Clothing, Travel. I’ll cover these three subjects here, since after we’re over the initial hardships of having an infant, it’s these things that you begin to spend more time with.
Pop Up Highchair – This is hands-down the best. It folds up so small, it’s really secure topped on a chair, is really easy to clean. We bought one for my in-laws too and just took a week vacation with this highchair. I can’t say enough great things about this high chair.
Baby Food Steamer/Blender – Some of you might look at this and roll your eyes. I make my own baby food, but can COMPLETELY understand if that’s not your jam. We shop at Costco and always have so much produce left over, so it only made sense to blend that stuff into food for the babe. I’ve heard so many people talking about how you don’t need a baby food maker and that you can just use a steamer and a food processor. You can. For sure. I found that for regular food making, going through all the dishes in my house was a pain. The baby food maker is a steamer and blender in one and cuts down on dishes and time. This machine is not for the baby food dabbler. If you are committed to making baby food, get this machine.
Manual Food Processor – Some nights, I just want to quickly chop something I’ve already cooked. I’ll make dinner for Matt and I, then just run our dinner though this manual food processor quickly for Maeve’s lunch the next day. You could easily use a knife, but I had this already, so I find myself using it a lot.
Oxo Cubes – I don’t pour my pureed food into these cubes, although you can. I poor them into some 2″ silicone ice cube trays. But, these little oxo containers are perfect to put the frozen cubes into for her lunch bag. I spoke about this on instagram, but I used this book for all of my puree strategy. It’s fabulous.
Beaba Spoons – Nothing groundbreaking here… I just love these spoons.
I show 4 outfits here, but they all have one thing in common… they’re one-piece. I always thought moms like one-piece outfits because of the simplicity but for me, it’s something different. I am a hyper organized person. I can’t deal with things being out of sort. When a wriggling baby wears 2 pieces, they’re always going to be a wreak. I moved to one-piece outfits because they looks really cute even when babies are crawling around and being babies. The Rylee & Cru bubble onesie is one of my faves. They’re expensive, but Maeve has had the 6-12 month since since she was 6 months and still wears it. That’s hard to say about other outfits. I also love denim outfits because the wash so well. The once piece tank outfits are nice but hard to come by. Lastly, I love the Burt’s Bees sleepers because they wash well.
We’ve had a few opportunities to travel with Maeve. After almost a year, I can confidently stand behind these choices… some because they’ve worked well, and others because I made the wrong choice and learned from it.
Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib – I love this travel crib. It folds up small and light. Our friends who have the traditional pack n’ play’s are extremely jealous! We sprung for the basset addition which is wonderful and rocks! We just took this to the beach and used it as both a bed and a play yard (together with this sun shade).
Baby Bjorn One – This is where I learned the hard way. I do like my Ergo, but was really disappointed to learn that babies can’t be forward facing in it. I’ve had friends who rave about this Baby Bjorn, so I wish I’d gotten this one.
Baby Duffle – I’ve always just thrown her clothes in with my own, but then I have a separate diaper bag and a separate reusable grocery bag for food and a separate bag for diapers. That’s a lot of freaking bags. I moved to just getting her a separate duffel which carries all of her things. Novel, I know. This version by Ferm Living is cute and soft for babies, but is still cool for her as she grows.
At this age, babies would much rather play with a shoe than anything else. Due to this, I do not spend a lot of time or money on baby toys. That being said, there are a few things which I’ve noticed she gravitates to over and over again. I’m sure this varies with all babies, but I think you really can’t go wrong with these three simple things.
Linking Rings – They’re small, portable, dish washable, and hours of entertainment. Maeve loves ripping them apart and throwing them all on the floor. Figures.
Plush Toys – She loves stuffed animals the most of all. If given alone time in her room, she just pulls all of the stuffed animals down and rolls around in them. There is a little dog from carters and a lovey that she likes the best. But isn’t this hippo too cute?
Walk Behind – One thing that isn’t captured in the graphic – Maeve loves this sit-to-stand toy. It’s ugly and loud, but she adores it, and it is one of the first things she’s pulled herself up with… which is super cute.
Whew… That’s a lot. Sorry for the long-winded post, but this was a lot to cover. It wasn’t until now that I felt I had enough to share, but I suppose it could have been broken down! I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts!